No More Fukushimas! No More Chernobyls!!

No More Fukushimas! No More Chernobyls!!

Scrap the Jaitapur Nuclear Plant!!!

NUCLEAR POWER IS DEATHLY! SAY NO TO NUCLEAR POWER!!

 

One  of the world’s worst ever nuclear disasters has  occurred at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. On March 11, 20011, a huge earthquake led to a complex series of events, ultimately leading to a huge explosions at Unit One and Unit Three of the plant. Unit Three had plutonium fuel, which is even more deathly than ordinary uranium fuel, as plutonium is one of the most terrible elements known, with a radioactive half-life of over 24000 years! Less than one-millionth of a gram of Plutonium if inhaled can cause lung cancer. The authorities are desperately trying everything  possible to prevent  a Chernobyl type meltdown, but already there has been release of huge amounts of radioactivity into the atmosphere from these reactors. There are another 4-5 reactors in 2 other nuclear plants which have also  suffered damage. There has been release of significant amount of radioactive gases from these reactors too. Over 2 lakh people living near these plants are being evacuated, and this is probably just the beginning. Eventually, if they do go back to their homes after many months, they will go with the knowledge that their  environment is contaminated with deathly radiation…

Nuclear Energy is Accident-prone

Nuclear energy is generated in a nuclear reactor when nuclear fuel (uranium 235) kept in the reactor core is split up, releasing huge amounts of heat. This heat is used to produce steam, which in turn is used to drive a turbine to generate electricity.

During this fission process, more than 200 types of new, highly radioactive elements are created. The reactor core of a 1000 MW nuclear power plant contains an amount of long-lived radiation equivalent to that released by 1000 Hiroshima bombs! Many of these radioactive elements will continue to emit radiation for thousands of years. The impact of this radiation on the human body is deathly: it causes cancer, infertility, premature aging, kidney problems, and several other diseases, and also mutates the reproductive genes – causing all kinds of diseases and birth deformities in future generations.

Because of the complex nature of nuclear technology, nuclear reactors are inherently prone to accidents; no amount of safety devices can prevent them. If a major accident occurs, and these radioactive elements are spewed into the atmosphere, they can devastate and render unlivable huge swathes of land, for thousands of years. As happened in Unit Four of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, in northern Ukraine, on April 26, 1986. It contaminated almost all the countries in the Northern Hemisphere, with horrendous consequences. ● More than 100,000 square miles around Chernobyl – an area roughly the size of Maharashtra – is contaminated to varying degrees, and will remain so for thousands of years. ● While four lakh people were evacuated, the many millions who continue to live in this region know that they are forever contaminated, that they could develop cancer anytime, that their children and grand children and great grand children could be born with severe birth defects. ● Almost ten lakh people have died so far due to the delayed health effects of the accident, and the number will continue to increase, according to a report by the US Academy of Sciences in 2010.

The global nuclear industry, in connivance with nuclear authorities the world over, tried to play down the severity of the accident. Following Chernobyl, while many countries in Western Europe banned nuclear plants (and countries like the USA did not order new plants), a few countries like the USA, France and Japan allowed their reactors to continue operations. France, Finland and Japan even built new reactors – they claimed that lessons have been learned and they will be able to avoid future such accidents, that their reactors are strong enough to withstand terrorist attacks, tsunamis,  earthquakes… The earthquake of March 11 has blown apart their claims.

The Fukushima NPP is located in Japan’s main island, just 240 kms from Tokyo. From newsreports coming in, it is obvious that the Japanese nuclear authorities are trying to cover up the severity of the accident. The unfortunate truth is: by their connivance with the nuclear industry’s greed for profits, the Japanese political leadership has radioactively contaminated the main Japanese island, and many other islands of this island country, for thousands of years. The fallout is definitely going to affect many nearby countries  too, like Korea, China, Russia and Taiwan. By choosing nuclear power as an energy option, the Japanese leadership has done incalculable harm to the country and the Japanese people are going to pay with their health and the health of their  future generations.

Nuclear Energy is Deathly

Even if nuclear reactors operate normally, their environmental costs are terrible. People living near the reactors are inevitably exposed to radiation leakages: the diabolical elements created in the fission reaction leak out of the reactor into the environment through a number of ways. The consequence: they will continue to suffer from cancer and other deathly diseases and children will continue to be born with mental and physical deformities for thousands of years!

An even more monstrous problem is the problem of waste disposal. Each 1000 MW nuclear power plant generates 30 tons of radioactive waste annually. This waste contains elements like Plutonium and Technetium, and is intensely radioactive and remains so for more than 2 lakh years! There is no safe way of storing these deadly wastes; they are generally stored in temporary storage sites near the reactors. Everywhere, the waste is leaking, leaching, seeping through the soil into aquifers, rivers and seas, to ultimately enter the bodies of plants, fish, animals and humans.  Its consequences are going to be with us for the rest of time!

And if there is an accident… Due to numerous near-misses after Chernobyl, when a similar  catastrophe was only narrowly avoided, anti-nuclear activists like Helen Caldicott had repeatedly warned that statistically speaking, an accidental meltdown is almost a certainty sooner or later in one of the 438 nuclear power plants located in thirty-three countries around the world. It has happened, sooner  than later, just 25 years after Chernobyl.

India… Down the same  road

Proclaiming that nuclear energy is safe, clean and green, is the solution to the country’s energy crisis, the government of India is proposing to set up the world’s biggest nuclear power plant of 9900 MW at Madban (near Jaitapur, Ratnagiri district). The notorious French company Areva is to supply two new generation EPR reactors of 1650 MW each for this nuclear plant initially, and four more units later. It is a part of the government’s plan for a quantum jump in nuclear power generation, from 4560 MW at present to 63,000 MW by 2032. More such massive nuclear parks are also proposed, including one each in the coastal areas of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

India’s Dangerous Reactors

Nuclear experts worldwide have described India’s nuclear power plants as amongst the “most dangerous in the world”. There have been at least 300 accidents at India’s reactors! Some of these, like the accident at Narora in UP in 1993 and the flooding of the reactors of Kakrapar in 1994 were extremely serious. Routine and accidental radiation releases from India’s reactors have led to a sharp rise in congenital deformities, tumours, thyroid disorders, fertility problems and other diseases in people living in the nearby villages.

Despite this distressing record, India’s nuclear establishment is now importing giant sized EPR nuclear reactors from France. Which are inherently more dangerous than our present reactors! When nuclear safety authorities of US and UK have expressed serious concerns about their design!  The nuclear plant will destroy the unique ecology of the area, which is one of the world’s top ten biodiversity hotspots. Its cooling system and hot water discharges will destroy the marine ecology and fish breeding grounds and deplete the fish population of the area.

As if these dangers were not enough, the Jaitapur nuclear plant will be located on the coast, in an area that is prone to earthquakes. Till before the Japanese nuclear meltdown, India’s nuclear authorities were citing the example of Japan, saying that if that earthquake-prone country can safely operate nuclear reactors,  India can also do so.

If a major accident were to happen at Jaitapur-Madban, just once, even 25 years later, while many kilometers of area would have to be permanently evacuated, entire Western Maharashtra, including Pune, would be radioactively contaminated! For ever. Even after Fukushima, are we going to allow this?

Alternative Solution to Energy Crisis

As the people of Japan are now learning through bitter experience, how can a technology which can be so devastating be called sustainable? The genuinely safe, and actually the only environmentally sustainable solution, to the country’s energy crisis and our future growth needs is: maximizing energy efficiency and using renewable energy sources. Through measures such as increasing generation, transmission and end-use efficiency, and elimination of wasteful consumption, it is possible to reduce electricity demand by a whopping 30-40%! That would not only wipe out the entire power sector deficit in the country which is less than 20%, there would be no need to build new power plants for the next few years!! Our future growth needs can then be met from renewable energy sources. Even the government admits their potential to be: Wind Energy – 48,500 MW; Small Hydro Power – 15,000 MW; Biomass Energy – 21,000 MW; and at least 50,000 MW from Solar Energy. The actual potential is much more. Furthermore, while nuclear electricity costs are rising, renewable energy costs are rapidly falling: wind energy is already cheaper than conventional electricity, while solar photovoltaic energy cost is expected to become so by 2015-20. Even if construction begins now, it would take at least 10 years to build a nuclear power plant. By then, it would have become unviable.

The Real Reason for India’s Nuclear Push

Why then are India’s rulers indulging in this madness of constructing nuclear power plants? One important reason: to provide foreign  corporations and big Indian corporations another opportunity to make huge profits. Ever since 1991, when the government began the globalisation of India, successive governments have been running the Indian economy solely for maximising the profits of giant foreign and Indian business houses – through schemes like SEZs, privatisation of public sector corporations and financial  institutions at throwaway prices, allowing them to plunder mountains, forests and rivers for their immense mineral wealth displacing lakhs of people, allowing them to take over education, health and other essential services and mint super profits, and so on. With nuclear power on decline in the West, the global nuclear industry is looking to Asia, especially China and India, for markets. And so the Manmohan Singh government has decided to promote nuclear energy in India. This is expected to provide foreign nuclear corporations and their Indian collaborators a $150 billion business opportunity. India’s rulers have sold their souls to the devil for a price that would have shamed Faust!

Friends,

The people of Jaitapur area of Konkan have launched a determined struggle against the Areva nuclear plant. The government of India has launched a fascist onslaught on the people in order to crush their resistance. It is resorting to lathi-charges, beatings, indiscriminate arrests, false cases. Leading activists of the area have been issued externment notices from Ratnagiri district. Eminent citizens of the country, including retired judges, academicians, scientists, who have extended support to the struggle, have been barred from entering  the district!

The people of Madban and nearby villages are fighting to defend their livelihoods and the environment of their region and the health of their coming generations.  It is a struggle to save Konkan, the Kashmir of Maharashtra, from permanent destruction. We must support their struggle, Konkan belongs to all of us. Young and old, students and teachers, working people, all of us must join this struggle and demand of the government of India:

1. Scrap the Jaitapur nuclear power project! Scrap all new nuclear power plants!!

2. End the reign of terror in Jaitapur area!

3. Invest massively in energy saving and development of renewable technologies!

Join us in the following program for these demands

Program

Dharna outside Collector Office, Pune,

Demanding scrapping of Jaitapur NPP

Date: March 17, 2011, Thursday

Time: 9 am to 11 am

 

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नको फुकुशिमा, नको चेर्नोबिल!

नको फुकुशिमा, नको चेर्नोबिल!

जैतापूर अणुऊर्जा प्रकल्प रद्द करा!!

अणुऊर्जा घातक आहे! अणुऊर्जेला विरोध करुया!

जगातील आज पर्यंतच्या सर्वात मोठ्या अणुअपघातांपैकी एक, जपान मधील फ़ुकुशिमा दाईची अणुप्रकल्पात घडला आहे. ११ मार्च २०११ रोजी झालेल्या मोठ्या भूकंपातून सुनामी आणि अनेक घटनांची एक साखळी तयार झाली ज्यातून या प्रकल्पातील संयंत्र-१ आणि संयंत्र-३ मध्ये मोठे स्फोट झाले. संयंत्र-३ मध्ये तर प्लुटोनियम इंधन होते, जे युरेनियम या नेहमीच्या इंधनापेक्षाही धोकादायक आहे कारण प्लुटोनियम २ लाख वर्षांपेक्षा जास्त काळ किरणॊत्सर्ग करत राहते. प्लुटोनियमच्या १ ग्रॅमपैकी १० लाखावा भाग जरी श्वासाद्वारे गेला तरी फुफ्फूसांचा कॅन्सर होतो. जपानी सरकार चेर्नोबिल सारखा अपघात होऊ नये यासाठी अगतिकतेने प्रयत्न करत आहे पण अगोदरच मोठ्या प्रमाणात  किरणोत्सर्ग या प्रकल्पातून वातावरणात सोडला गेलेला आहे. याशिवाय अजून २ प्रकल्पातील ४-५ अणुभट्ट्यांनाही नुकसान झालेले आहे, त्यांची शितकरण यंत्रणा बंद पडली आहे आणि या प्रकल्पांतूनही मोठ्या प्रमाणात किरणोत्सर्ग सोडला गेला आहे. प्रकल्पाजवळील २ लाखांपेक्षा जास्त लोकांना हलवण्यात आले आहे. ही कदाचित फक्त सुरूवात आहे. शेवटी, अनेक महिन्यांनी कदाचित जर हे लोक घरी गेलेच, तर ते या जाणिवेसकटच परत जातील की ते किरणोत्सर्गाने प्रदूषित वातावरणात जगणार आहेत!

अणुऊर्जा अपघात: एक वास्तव

अणुभट्टीमध्ये युरेनियम इंधनाच्या अणुचे विभंजन करून प्रचंड ऊर्जा उत्पन्न केली जाते. या ऊर्जेद्वारे पाण्याची वाफ करुन, त्याद्वारे जनित्र फिरवले जाते आणि जनित्रातून वीज उत्पन्न होते. या विभंजन प्रक्रीयेमध्ये २०० पेक्षा जास्त अतिशय किरणोत्सर्गी पदार्थ तयार होतात. यामुळेच १००० मेगावॅटच्या अणुभट्टीत १००० हिरोशिमा अणुबॉम्बइतका किरणोत्सर्ग तयार होत असतो. यापैकी अनेक किरणॊत्सर्गी पदार्थ येणारी हजारो वर्षे किरणोत्सर्ग करत राहणार. या किरणोत्सर्गाचा मानवी शरीरावरील परिणाम अतिशय घातक आहे: यामुळे कॅन्सर, पुनरुत्पादक पेशींवर परिणाम होऊन जन्मजात विकलांगता, नपुंसकता, बालवयात वृद्धत्व, किडनीचे विकार आणि इतर अनेक विकार होतात!

अणुऊर्जेच्या अशा अत्यंत जटील स्वरूपामुळेच अणुभट्ट्यांमध्ये अपघाताची शक्यता कायम असते. कितीही सुरक्षा उपकरणे वापरली तरी ती पुरेशी नसणार. जर मोठा अपघात झालाच आणि किरणोत्सर्गी पदार्थ वातावरणात सोडले गेले तर ते हजारो वर्षांकरिता मोठ्या प्रमाणात भूभाग मानववस्तीस अयोग्य करू शकतात. उत्तर युक्रेनमधील चेर्नोबिल येथील संयंत्र ४ मध्ये, २६ एप्रिल १९८६ रोजी हेच घडले. उत्तर गोलार्धातील जवळपास सर्व देशांमध्ये या अपघाताचे किरणोत्सार पसरले आहेत.

  • १ लाख वर्ग मैलापेक्षा जास्त भाग (जवळपास महाराष्ट्राएवढा) किरणोत्सर्गाने प्रदूषित झाला आहे आणि येणारी हजारो वर्षे तसाच राहील.
  • ४ लाखापेक्षा जास्त लोक तिथून हलवले गेले आहेत, परंतु इतरही लाखो लोक त्या भागात अजूनही राहतात, हे जाणून की त्यांना कधीही कॅन्सर होऊ शकतो, त्यांच्या मुलांना किंवा नातवांना आणि पुढच्या पिढ्य़ांना जन्मजात विकलांगता असू शकते.
  • अमेरिकन विज्ञान अकादमीच्या २०१० च्या अहवालानुसार १० लाखापेक्षा जास्त लोक आजपर्यंत या अपघाताच्या नंतर झालेल्या परिणामांमुळे मृत्यूमुखी पडले आहेत आणि हा आकडा वाढतच राहणार आहे.

जागतिक अणुऊर्जा उद्योगाने, जगातील सर्व अणुविभागांच्या संगनमताने या अपघाताची तीव्रता कमी करून दाखवण्याचा प्रयत्न केला आहे. चेर्नोबिल नंतर पश्चिम युरोपातील अनेक देशांनी अणुऊर्जेवर बंदी घातली( आणि अमेरिका आणि कॅनडा मध्ये नवीन प्रकल्पांना मागणीच बंद झाली) पण फ़्रान्स, जपान, अमेरिकेसारख्या काही देशांनी असलेले अणुप्रकल्प चालू ठेवले; शिवाय फ्रान्स, फिनलंड, जपान यांनी तर नवीन अणुभट्ट्याही बांधल्या. त्यांनी असा दावा केला की घ्यायचे ते धडे घेऊन झाले आणि यापुढे भविष्यात असे अपघात टाळले जातील, त्यांच्या अणुभट्ट्या पुरेशा मजबूत असून त्या दहशतवादी हल्ले, सुनामी, भूकंप या सर्वांना तोंड देऊ शकतील. ११ मार्चच्या भूकंपाने हे सर्व दावे निकालात काढले आहेत.

फुकुशिमा प्रकल्प जपानच्य मुख्य बेटावर, राजधानी टोकीयो पासून फक्त २४० किमी अंतरावर आहे. वर्तमानपत्रातून येणाऱ्या बातम्यांवरून स्पष्ट आहे की जपानी अणुविभाग या अपघाताच्या तीव्रतेला कमी करून दाखवण्याचा प्रयत्न करत आहे. सत्य हे आहे की अणुऊर्जा उद्योगासोबत संगनमत करून, त्यांच्या नफ्यासाठी फ्रान्सच्या राजकीय नेत्यांनी जपानी भूमी येणाऱ्या हजारो वर्षांकरिता किरणोत्सर्गाने प्रदूषित करून टाकली आहे. जपानची इतर बेटेही खूप मोठ्या काळासाठी किरणोत्सर्गाचे परिणाम भोगत राहतील. याचा परिणाम कोरिया, चीन, रशिया आणि तैवान या शेजारच्या देशांवरही झाल्यावाचून राहणार नाही. अणुऊर्जेचा पर्याय निवडून जपानी नेतृत्वाने त्यांच्या देशाला अपरंपार हानी पोहोचवली आहे आणि जपानी लोक व त्यांच्या अनेक भावी पिढ्या याची किंमत आरोग्याचा बळी देऊन चुकवत राहणार आहेत.

अणुऊर्जा घातक आहे

अणुभट्ट्या नेहमीप्रमाणे काम करत राहिल्या, तरी त्यांचे पर्यावरणावरील परिणाम भयानक आहेत. अणुभट्ट्य़ांजवळ राहणाऱ्या लोकांना किरणोत्सर्गाला तोंड द्यावेच लागते: अणुभंजनानंतर तयार झालेले अनेक किरणॊत्सर्गी पदार्थ पर्यावरणात अनेक मार्गांनी निसटतातच. त्यामुळेच अणुप्रकल्पाजवळ राहणारे लोक आणि त्यांच्या येणाऱ्या पिढ्या मोठ्या दराने कॅन्सर, जन्मजात मानसिक आणि शारिरिक व्यंग, बालपणात वॄद्धत्व आणि इतर अनेक घातक विकारांचे येणारी हजारो वर्षे शिकार होत राहणार!

यापेक्षाही भयावह प्रश्न आहे तो अणुकचऱ्याचा. प्रत्येक १००० मेगावॅटचा अणुप्रकल्प ३० टनापेक्षा जास्त अणुकचरा दरवर्षी निर्माण करतो. या कचऱ्यात प्लुटोनियम आणि टेक्निटियम सारखे घातक पदार्थ असतात आणि तो २ लाख वर्षे किरणोत्सर्गी राहतो. या कचऱ्याला साठवण्याची कुठलीही सुरक्षित पद्धत उपलब्ध नाही. सर्वसाधारणपणे तो अणुप्रकल्पाजवळच कुठेतरी तात्पुरत्या जागी साठवला जातो. प्रत्येक ठिकाणी हा कचरा गळत आहे, जमिनीतून भूजलामध्ये मिसळत आहे, नदीच्या पाण्यात आणि समुद्रात जाऊन मिसळत आहे आणि त्याद्वारे शेवटी प्राणी, वनस्पती, मानवापर्यंत जात आहे. याचे परिणाम आपल्यासोबत कायमस्वरूपी राहणार आहेत!

आणि जर अपघात झालाच … चेर्नोबिल नंतरच्या, अणुभट्टीचा विनाश नशिबानेच बचावला अशा अनेक थोडक्यात हुकेलेल्या घटनांकडे बघता, डॉ. हेलेन कॉल्डीकॉट सारख्या अणुऊर्जाविरोधी कार्यकर्त्यांनी नेहमीच सांगितले आहे की सांख्यिकदृष्ट्या बघता आज ना उद्या चालू असलेल्या ३३ देशातील ४३८ अणुऊर्जाप्रकल्पांपैकी कुठेतरी अणुअपघात होणारच आहे. आणि चेर्नोबिलच्या २५ वर्षांनंतर असा अपघात आता झाला आहे!

भारत … त्याच विनाशकारी मार्गाने

अणुऊर्जा स्वच्छ, सुरक्षित आणि हरित आहे, देशाच्या ऊर्जा प्रश्नाचे उत्तर आहे असा प्रचार करत भारत सरकार जगातील सर्वात मोठा ९९०० मेगावॅटचा अणुऊर्जा प्रकल्प माडबन(जैतापूरजवळ, रत्नागिरी जिल्ह्यात) लावू बघत आहे. फ्रान्सची कुप्रसिद्ध अरिवा कंपनी इ.पी.आर. बनावटीच्या १६५० मेगावॅटच्या दोन अणुभट्ट्या सुरूवातीला उभारणार आहे आणि ४ अजून अणुभट्ट्या नंतर उभारणार आहे. आजच्या ४५६० मेगावॅट पासून २०३२ पर्यंत ६३,००० मेगावॅटपर्यंतच्या भारत सरकारच्या अणऊर्जा निर्मितीच्या हनुमानऊडीचाच हा प्रकल्प एक भाग आहे. असे अजूनही अनेक महाप्रचंड ऊर्जा प्रकल्प पश्चिम बंगाल, आंध्र प्रदेश, तामिळनाडू आणि गुजरातमध्ये किनारपट्टीवर प्रस्तावित आहेत.

भारताच्या धोकादायक अणुभट्ट्या

जगभरातील अनेक अणुतज्ञांनी भारतातील अणुभट्ट्यांना ’जगातील सर्वाधिक असुरक्षित’ संबोधिले आहे. आजपर्यंत भारतातील अणुभट्ट्यांमध्ये ३०० पेक्षा जास्त अपघात झालेले आहेत. यापैकी काही, जसे उत्तरप्रदेशातील नरोरामधील १९९३चा अपघात, किंवा काक्रापार मधील १९९४ मध्ये अणुभट्ट्यांमध्ये घुसलले पाणी हे अतिशय गंभीर अपघात होते. भारतीय अणुभट्यांमधून होणाऱ्या नियमित आणि अपघाती किरणोत्सर्गाच्या अपसर्गाने आजूबाजूच्या गावातील लोकांमध्ये जन्मजात व्यंग, थायरॉईड व्यंग, गळू, पुनरुत्पादनाचे प्रश्न दिसून आले आहेत.

या वाईट इतिहासानंतरही भारतातील अणुप्रतिष्ठान अवाढव्य आकाराच्या इ.पी.आर. अणुभट्ट्या फ्रान्सकडून आयात करत आहे. या अणुभट्ट्या आपल्या आजच्या अणुभट्ट्यांपेक्षा जास्त असुरक्षित आहेत. अमेरिकेतील आणि इंग्लंडमधील अणुसुरक्षा संस्थांनी या तंत्रज्ञानाच्या सुरक्षेबद्दल अगोदरच प्रश्न उपस्थित केलेले आहेत. प्रस्तावित जैतापूर अणुप्रकल्पामुळे जगातील सर्वोत्तम १० जैवविविध्यपूर्ण असलेल्या या भागातील विशिष्ट जीवसृष्टी नष्ट होईल. त्याच्या शितलीकरण प्रणालीमुळे आणि गरम पाणी समुद्रात सोडल्यामुळे समुद्रातील पर्यावरण, माशांचे बीजीकरण आणि मत्स्यसंपदा नष्ट होईल.

जणूकाही हे सर्व कमी आहे म्हणून, जैतापूर अणूऊर्जा प्रकल्प भूकंपप्रवण अशा किनारपट्टीवरच्या जागी उभारला जात आहे. जपानी अणुअपघाताच्या अगोदर, भारतीय अधिकारी जपानचेच उदाहरण देऊन म्हणत की भूकंपप्रवण देश जर अणुभट्ट्या सुरक्षितपणे चालवू शकतात, तर भारतही करू शकतो.

जैतापुर-माडबन येथे जर असा मोठा अपघात झालाच, २५ वर्षात फक्त एकदाच जरी झाला तरी, अनेक किमी पर्यंतचा भूभाग निर्मनुष्य करावा लागेल, आणि संपूर्ण पश्चिम महाराष्ट्र – पुण्यासकट – किरणोत्सर्गाने दूषित होऊन जाईल! कायमस्वरूपी! फुकूशिमाच्या अनुभवानंतरही आपण हे होऊन देणार का?

उर्जा समस्येवर पर्यायी उपाय

जपानच्या लोकांना कटू अनुभवातून धडा मिळाला आहे. जे तंत्रज्ञान इतके विनाशकारी आहे, ते शाश्वत विकासाचा मार्ग कसे असू शकते? खऱ्या अर्थाने सुरक्षित आणि पर्यावरणाच्या दृष्टीने शाश्वत विकास साधू शकणारा, देशाच्या ऊर्जा प्रश्नावर आणि भविष्यातील गरजांवर उपाय आहे की: ऊर्जा कार्यक्षमता वाढवणे आणि पुन्हा निर्माण होऊ शकणाऱ्या ऊर्जा स्त्रोतांचा वापर. उत्पादन, वाहन आणि वापर या तिन्ही ठिकाणी विजेची कार्यक्षमता वाढवणे, अनावश्यक ऊर्जा वापर टाळणे या मार्गांनी ऊर्जेची गरजच ३०-४०% इतक्या प्रमाणात कमी होऊ शकते. यातून सर्व देशातील ऊर्जेची २०% असलेली कमतरता फक्त भरूनच निघणार नाही, तर येणारी काही वर्षे नवीन प्रकल्पही लागणार नाहीत. आपल्या भविष्यातील गरज नंतर पुन्हा उत्पादित करण्याजोग्या ऊर्जा स्त्रोतांपासून पूर्ण होऊ शकतील. सरकारही मानते की अशा स्त्रोतांची क्षमता आहे — पवन ऊर्जा -४८,५०० मेगावॅट, लघू जल विद्युत-१५,००० मेगावॅट, बायोमास ऊर्जा-२१,००० मेगावॅट आणि कमीत कमी ५०,००० मेगावॅट सौर ऊर्जे पासून. खरी क्षमता तर फार जास्त आहे. याशिवाय अणुऊर्जेची किंमत जिथे वाढतच चालली आहे, पर्यायी ऊर्जा स्त्रोतांची किंमत कमी होत आहे. पवन ऊर्जा आजही पारंपारिक ऊर्जेपेक्षा स्वस्त आहे आणि २०१५-२० पर्यंत सौर ऊर्जाही त्यापेक्षा स्वस्त होईल हा अंदाज आहे. आज जरी बांधकाम चालू केले तरी अणुप्रकल्प उभा व्हायला कमीत कमी १० वर्षे लागतात. तोपर्यंत तो परवडणारा राहणारच नाही.

भारताने अणूऊर्जेला प्रोत्सासन देण्यामागचे खरे कारण

असे असताना मग भारतातील राज्यकर्ते अणूप्रकल्प उभा करण्याचा वेडेपणा का करत आहेत? एक महत्वाचे कारण: विदेशी आणि भारतातील मोठमोठ्या कंपन्यांना अवाढव्य नफा कमवण्याची मोठी संधी देणे! १९९१ साली जागतिकीकरणाची धोरणे लागू झाल्यानंतर आलेल्या सर्व सरकारांनी भारतीय अर्थव्यवस्थेला एकाच कारणासाठी चालवले आहे –  मोठमोठ्या देशी-विदेशी उद्योगधंद्यांचा नफा वाढवण्यासाठी. त्यासाठी सेझ, शासकीय कंपन्यांचे आणि वित्तीय संस्थांचे कवडीमोल भावाने खाजगीकरण, खनिजे संपत्त्तीसाठी पर्वत, जंगले आणि नद्या लूटण्याचे स्वातंत्र्य, त्यासाठी लाखो लोकांचे विस्थापन, आपले शिक्षण, आरोग्य आणि इतर आवश्यक सेवांवर कब्जा करून नफा कमवण्याची परवानगी अशा गोष्टी भारत सरकार करत आहे. पश्चिमेकडील देशांमध्ये अणुऊर्जेला ओहोटी आलेली असल्यामाळे तेथील कंपन्या आशियाकडे, विशेषत: भारत आणि चीनकडे नजर लावून आहेत. त्यामुळेच मनमोहन सिंग सरकारने देशात अणुऊर्जेला प्रोत्साहन देण्याचे ठरवले आहे. यातून विदेशी कंपन्या आणि त्यांचे भारतातील साथीदार कंपन्या यांना १५० अब्ज डॉलरचा धंदा मिळणार आहे! भारतीय शासकांनी त्यांचा आत्मा दानवी शक्तींना लज्जास्पद रितीने विकून टाकला आहे!

मित्रहो,

जैतापुर भागातील कोकणच्या लोकांनी अरिवाच्या प्रकल्पाविरुद्ध एक झुंजार लढा उभारलेला आहे. भारत सरकारने लोकांचा विरोध चिरडून टाकण्यासाठी एक हुकूमशाही हल्ला चढवला आहे. लाठीमार, अनिर्बंध अटका, खोट्या केसेस असे प्रकार अवलंबिले जात आहेत. आघाडीच्या कार्यकर्त्यांना रत्नागिरी जिल्हाबंदीचे आदेश निघालेले आहेत. देशाचे अनेक प्रतिष्ठीत नागरिक ज्यांच्यामध्ये निवॄत्त न्यायमूर्ती, शिक्षणतज्ञ, वैज्ञानिक सामील आहेत, त्यांनाही जिल्हाबंदी करण्यात आली आहे.

माडबन आणि परिसरातील लोक त्यांची जिवीका, येणाऱ्या पिढ्यांचे आरोग्य आणि पर्यावरण वाचवण्यासाठी लढत आहेत. महाराष्ट्राचे काश्मिर असे कोकण वाचवण्याचा हा लढा आहे. कोकण आपल्या सर्वांचा आहे, तेव्हा त्यांच्या लढ्याला आपण पाठींबा दिलाच पाहिजे. तरूण आणि वृद्ध, विद्यार्थी आणि शिक्षक, कामगार आपण सर्वांनी मिळून या लढ्यात सामील झालेच पाहिजे आणि भारत सरकारकडे मागणी केली पाहिजे की:

  1. जैतापुर अणुऊर्जा प्रकल्प रद्द करा! सर्व अणुऊर्जा प्रकल्प बंद करा!!
  2. जैतापूर भागातील दहशतीचे राज्य बंद करा
  3. ऊर्जा बचत आणि पुन्हा वापरता येणाऱ्या तंत्रज्ञामध्ये मोठी गुंतवणूक करा

या मागण्यांसाठी आयोजित खालील कार्यक्रमात मोठ्या संख्येने सामील व्हा:

कार्यक्रम

जिल्हाधिकारी कार्यालयासमोर धरणे आंदोलन

जैतापूर अणुप्रकल्प रद्द व्हावा या मागणीसाठी

दिनांक: १७ मार्च २०११, गुरूवार

वेळ: सकाळी ९ ते ११

Bhopal Survivors Call Verdict and Trial Utter Disappointment

International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, Press Statement for immediate release on June 7, 2010

Contact: India, Nityanand Jayaraman: +91 9444082401; US, Shana Ortman, 415-746-0306

www.bhopal.netwww.studentsforbhopal.org

Terming today’s verdict and sentence against 7 officials of Union Carbide India Ltd., and the company an utter disappointment, Bhopal survivors today said they are resolved to challenge it in higher legal fora. “We feel outraged and betrayed. This is not justice. This is a travesty of justice,” said Hazra Bee of International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. “The paltry sentencing is a slap in the face of suffering Bhopal victims.” Survivors have condemned the Indian government’s “criminal negligence” in the prosecution of those accused of responsibility for the world’s worst corporate massacre.

They said that as the Minister in charge of the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Prime Minister must accept blame for the prosecuting agency’s incompetence and mishandling of the case.

UCIL’s 7 Indian officials were awarded a 2-year prison sentence and a paltry fine of Rs. 101,750 (about $2100) today, while Union Carbide India Ltd (now Eveready Industries India Ltd) was fined Rs. 5,00,000 ($11000). All accused are out on bail of Rs. 25,000. Today’s verdict was in the case against only the 9 Indian accused (8 individuals and UCIL), one of whom died in the course of the trial. The foreign accused – Union Carbide Corporation, Warren Anderson and Union Carbide Eastern – are absconding and the CBI has failed to take action to bring them to India to face trial.

The verdict was greeted with protests, slogan-shouting and die-ins by irate Bhopalis who defied prohibitory orders to vent their anger outside the court. “By handling those those guilty of the world’s worst industrial disaster so leniently, our courts and Government are telling dangerous industries and corporate CEOs that they stand to lose nothing even if they put entire populations and the environment at risk,” said Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action.

The organizations said that in 18 years the CBI had not even been able to bring the principal accused; Union Carbide, USA and its former Chairman Warren Anderson, to face trial. Further, because of CBI’s inept handling, a third foreign accused – Union Carbide Eastern Inc, Hong Kong has managed to escape the criminal proceedings altogether. “There is documentary evidence that Union Carbide, USA and Anderson knew that the Bhopal plant design was based on “untested technology”, they were in full control over operations and safety of the factory and it is they who directed reckless cost – cutting. Justice cannot be done in Bhopal till these principal accused are brought to trial,” said Rashida Bee who has lost six people in her family due to the disaster.

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Comment on the Bhopal gas tragedy judgement from ICJB and Lokayat

Comment by Lokayat on the Judgement given in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy case on behalf of

lnternational Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB)

On behalf of struggling victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy who have been fighting for the last 25 years for justice, we’d like to thank the media for the excellent and sympathetic coverage given to the case and the strong comments given by the media on the judgement.

The judgement is indeed disappointing. It is indeed a making mockery of the victims of the world’s worst industrial disaster. After 25 years of trial, in an accident wherein more than 25000 have died so far and more than 1 lakh are sick with severely impaired lungs, eyes, reproductive and immune systems, and mental health, yet the company’s Indian officials have only been sentenced to a mere 2 years in jail and a nominal fine. They have immediately got bail, and in all probability, they will never go to jail. Such a minor sentence, which is similar to the sentence given for rash driving. When it was not an accident, the company was being run in such a risky way so as to maximise its profits that the gas leak was bound to happen. In fact the safety officer of the company resigned six months before the December 1984 gas leak, saying in his resignation letter that the way the company was being run, an accident is bound to happen sooner or later.

The gas leak was waiting to happen. Union Carbide had knowingly designed the plant with inferior and unproven technology. Then, to enhance profits, the company went on a cost cutting drive: reducing personnel, adopting hazardous operating procedures, and cutting down on vital safety measures and plant maintenance. In 1982, a safety audit warned of a high potential for a gas leak. Workers injuries, gas leaks, even deaths predated the disaster. But all these warnings were ignored, in the lust for profits. On the night of the disaster, none of the six safety systems designed to prevent or contain a leak were working! Some of them had deliberately been shut down to save electricity bills!!

Despite all this evidence, the investigation was carried out so shoddily by the CBI that all the accused have got away with very light sentences. The reason for this shoddy investigation is that there was no political will to pursue the cases strongly: from the very day of the disaster, the government has tried its best to ensure that Union Carbide gets away lightly. The Chief Executive Officer of Union Carbide Mr. Warren Anderson was allowed to fly back to the USA on bail, and since then no attempt has been made to extradite him to India. The Supreme Court has also sided with the company rather than the people of India. When the government entered into a completely unjust out of court settlement with Union Carbide wherein all that the company had to pay as compensation was a mere $470 million (or merely Rs. 25000 for each survivor for a lifetime of illnesses), the Supreme Court upheld the settlement. Not only that, in 1996, the Supreme Court also diluted the charges against the company’s officials, which is one of the reasons why these officials have got away with such minor sentences.

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Lokayat condemns lathi charge and arrests of peaceful protestors in Madban, Ratnagiri

Lokayat condemns the police lathicharge and subsequent arrest of villagers of Madban and nearby villages today morning, that is, January 22, 2010. The villagers were peacefully protesting the visit of the government officials who had come to distribute cheques to the villagers in order to acquire their lands for setting up what will be the world’s biggest nuclear power plant in Madban, Ratnagiri. In complete violation of all democratic norms, the police and government officials, in a bid to terrorise the villagers and break their spirited resistance to the project, first brutally lathicharged the protesting people, and then arrested them in large numbers. More than 500 people have been arrested so far.

This was the third visit by the government officials to the Madban village to distribute the cheques. During the first visit on December 29, over 1500 villagers had demonstrated and refused to accept the cheques. The second visit was to take place on January 12, 2010. On that day, black flags were put up in Madban and all nearby villages including the taluka headquarters, Rajapur. Black flags were also put on all fishing boats in all the nearby fishing villages. Today, during the third visit, the villagers again organised a peaceful demonstration and refused en masse to accept the cheques. Incensed, the authorities ordered a lathicharge and then arrested the people.

This is yet another example of the Indian government attempting to push for land acquisition for a big project, this time to construct a nuclear power plant, despite the opposition by not just the people whose land is being acquired but by all the nearby villages and towns of the entire taluka. It only indicates that no lessons have been learnt from the fiasco in Singur and Nandigram. The government is desperately pushing to set up this nuclear power plant in Madban, that too one of the biggest in the world, despite the fact that the problems of accidents, disposal of nuclear wastes, and emission of routine radiation from nuclear plants are so enormous that nuclear energy is actually on the decline the world over. No nuclear power plant has been ordered in the United States since 1978, and eventually all plants ordered since 1973 were cancelled. Similarly, just two nuclear plants have been ordered in Western Europe since the last two decades, and even these two plants have run into trouble with nuclear regulatory authorities questioning the safety of these plants. Despite this glaring evidence, the government is bent upon making the people of this country guinea pigs for experimentation for setting up nuclear power plants. With the nuclear industry in the west in doldrums due to a drought of orders, the government of India’s decision to go in for nuclear energy in a big way is providing it a much needed lifeline. It appears that the government of India is more interested in helping the corporations of the USA and European countries rather than safeguarding the interests of the people of the country.